After the Murder
Shrien got the call to inform him that Anni was dead on Sunday, November 14th. He started screaming hysterically and just dropped the phone. Police, a doctor and family friends were with Shrien. A doctor gave him some medication and he was not allowed to see Anni’s body.
The next day, Monday, his distress is clearly visible as he leaves for the mortuary at 10h27, to identify Anni’s body.
Before leaving South Africa Shrien had one final meeting with Zola Tongo. Tuesday, 16th November, 13h40. At the time the taxi driver was still a witness and not a suspect. Tongo claims to have met up with Dewani and recieved R1000 as payment. Holding a white plastic bag Shrien meets him in the lobby of the hotel. They enter the internet room which has no cameras or CCTV, though other hotel guests are in there too. After a minute Shrien leaves to his hotel room, minus the white bag. Tongo leaves with the bag under his shirt. He heads straight to the gents’ loo. He said the bag contained an envelope with R1000. He realized Dewani had not paid him the full R5000 as they previously agreed, according to Tongo. Yet Tongo leaves the hotel with the bag in clear view. He said upon realizing that he had been short changed, he went looking for Shrien.
But his is untrue, yet again. CCTV footage reveals he casually strolls out the front entrance of the hotel. he said he had no further contact with Shrien after that. Another lie. Phone records and CCTV shows Shrien called him an hour and forty minutes after. Tongo makes no mention in his testimony about that call. That is the 6th time that the CCTV contradicts crucial evidence in his sworn statements.
Was the R1000 simply payment for his services as a taxi driver?
The Plea Bargain
Tongo was arrested a week after Anni’s death. The very next day the taxi driver agreed to a plea bargain with the prosecutors. A lesser sentence in return for evidence against Shrien Dewani. Even Tongo’s jail sentence was agreed on that weekend. Seven years only for a 25 year sentence – he could be out in 2020. Anni’s father had to approve the deal.
Some senior legal professionals are surprized by this, and convinced that the prosecuting team were under pressure to get a result as soon as possible. Shrien was now officially a suspect.
Why so little interest in establishing whether the taxi driver and the hotel receptionist were telling the truth? Could fears for South African tourism played a part? Its certainly a far preferable outcome to have a finding that this was a murder arranged between Tongo and a foreign visitor, rather than evidence of rampant criminality in Cape Town.
Can justice be done, or has it already been undone by incompetence, flawed evidence and blatant lies?
Next Page: The Extradition